James Burke’s new project aims to help us deal with change, think connectively, and benefit from surprise

In this episode of the YANSS Podcast, we sit down with legendary science historian James Burke, who returns to the show to explain his newest project, a Connections app that will allow anyone to search and think “connectively” when exploring Wikipedia.

He launched the Kickstarter for the app this month. This is a link to learn more.

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For much of his career, science historian James Burke has been creating documentaries and writing books aimed at helping us to make better sense of the enormous amount of information that he predicted would one day be at our fingertips.

In Connections, he offered an “alternate view of history” in which great insights took place because of anomalies and mistakes, because people were pursuing one thing, but it lead somewhere surprising or was combined with some other object or idea they could never have imagined by themselves. Innovation took place in the spaces between disciplines, when people outside of intellectual and professional silos, unrestrained by categorical and linear views, synthesized the work of people still trapped in those institutions, who, because of those institutions, had no idea what each other was up to and therefore couldn’t predict the trajectory of even their own disciplines, much less history itself.

In The Day the Universe Changed, Burke explored the sequential impact of discovery, innovation, and invention on how people defined reality itself. “You are what we know,” he wrote “and when the body of knowledge changes, so do we." In this view of change, knowledge is invented as much as it is discovered, and new ideas “nibble at the edges” of common knowledge until values considered permanent and fixed fade into antiquity just like any other obsolete tool. Read the rest

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast covers Westworld episode five, "Contrapasso"

Now that Boars, Gore, and Swords has switched to full coverage of HBO's Westworld, they've returned to their schedule of posting episodes following that night's airing. For this week's "Contrapasso," Ivan and Red are joined by comedian Allison Mick to discuss ever-expanding fan theories, dude robot full frontal, and Ed Harris's frontier medicine. They've also concluded their Patreon-exclusive coverage of the Great British Bake Off finale, so kick in a buck for some high-class cake talk.

To catch up on previous episodes of Westworld, previous seasons of Game of Thrones, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

Kodachrome, Pt. 1

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:

Color slides were once the state of the art in family photography -- vibrant, immersive, ubiquitous. So ubiquitous, in fact, that millions, maybe billions of them survive. A conversation with midcentury pop culture expert Charles Phoenix: What can we learn from the vast shadow world of abandoned slides about the way we used to live in our homes?

If you like what you hear, please drop by the iTunes Store and leave the show a rating and/or review. And don't forget to subscribe: 

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The strangest battle of World War II took place at this medieval Austrian castle

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Everything Must Go

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:

Some stories don't end when you think they do. Some stories just pause. And then they sneak back around and whap you across the back of your unsuspecting head. So here's one I didn't expect to revisit, although maybe I should have: Part 2 of Episode 7, "Unmaking A Home."

If you like what you hear, please drop by the iTunes Store and leave the show a rating and/or review. And don't forget to subscribe: 

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In 1896 two New Jersey clam diggers set out to cross the North Atlantic in a rowboat

In 1896 two New Jersey clam diggers made a bold bid for fame: They set out to cross the North Atlantic in a rowboat, a feat that had never been accomplished before. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the adventure of George Harbo and Frank Samuelsen, which one newspaper called “the most remarkable event in the way of ocean navigation that ever transpired.”

We'll also meet some military mammals and puzzle over a thwarted burglar.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast switches to full Westworld coverage

In the face of overwhelming listener demand, Boars, Gore, and Swords will be deviating from their stated cause of Game of Thrones to cover all of HBO's video game vacation series Westworld. Ivan and Red worked overtime to get current, recapping episodes twothree (along with guest Walt Hickey of 538), and four over the weekend. And, of course, you can start with last week's coverage of episode one. They discuss all the fan theories, gaming references, and old-timey talk contained therein. If all that content wasn't enough, they also released a recap of episode nine of The Great British Bake Off over on their Patreon. 

To catch up on previous seasons of Game of Thrones, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

The great Australian poetry hoax, in which deliberate nonsense was hailed as great art

In 1943, fed up with modernist poetry, two Australian army officers invented a fake poet and submitted a collection of deliberately senseless verses to a Melbourne arts magazine. To their delight, the poems were published and their author was hailed as "one of the most remarkable and important poetic figures of this country." In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Ern Malley hoax, its perpetrators, and its surprising legacy in Australian literature.

We'll also hear a mechanized Radiohead and puzzle over a railroad standstill.

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The Modernist Utopia that never was

HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network, is back for its fourth season. This week:

What happens to a utopia that never got off the ground? Bits and pieces of one, an experiment in postwar living for the masses, are hiding in plain sight in the hills above Sunset Boulevard. Architect and author Cory Buckner talks about Crestwood Hills, a Modernist vision for a cooperative future that never quite arrived.

A note from the producer: If you'd like to help HOME get off to a good seasonal start, drop by the iTunes Store and subscribe. And if you have a minute to leave a rating and/or review, that helps stir the algorithmic stew that gets shows noticed. Thanks for listening.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast covers Westworld

This week, Boars, Gore, and Swords breaks from the ASOIAF book club to watch the first episode of HBO's robot cowboy apocalypse series Westworld. Ivan and Red discuss the commentary on gaming woven throughout the show, how to successfully program a robot so that it won't foment a revolution, and Ed Harris's portrayal of the ultimate griefer. They also continue their Patreon-exclusive coverage of episodes seven and eight of the Great British Bake Off, so kick in a dollar or more to hear their excitement about cakes.

To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast's ASOIAF book club - FeastDance #11: "Erectile Crustacean"

The Boars, Gore, and Swords book club continues its reading of the Boiled Leather chapter order combining George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons with this week's episode,"Erectile Crustacean." Ivan and Red cover Brienne III and Samwell II in AFfC, and discuss some light Westworld/Luke Cage views, Brienne's reenactment of 80s teen movies, and male insensitivity on the high seas. To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon.

This episode is sponsored by Hello Fresh, visit hellofresh.com and use promo code BGS to save $35 off your first week of deliveries. Read the rest

A bizarre murder mystery gripped Campden, England, in 1660

When William Harrison disappeared from Campden, England, in 1660, his servant offered an incredible explanation: that he and his family had murdered him. After the family was executed for the crime Harrison reappeared with a bizarre story of his own. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe "the Campden wonder," which one historian has called "perhaps the most baffling of all historical mysteries."

We'll also consider Vladimir Putin's dog and puzzle over a little girl's benefactor.

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The story of D.B. Cooper, the only unsolved hijacking in American history

In 1971 a mysterious man hijacked an airliner in Portland, Oregon, demanding $200,000 and four parachutes. He bailed out somewhere over southwestern Washington and has never been seen again. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of D.B. Cooper, the only unsolved hijacking in American history.

We'll also hear some musical disk drives and puzzle over a bicyclist's narrow escape.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast's ASOIAF book club - FeastDance #10: "Captain Davos: Civil War"

Tyrion crossbow

The Boars, Gore, and Swords book club reading of the Boiled Leather chapter order combining George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons continues with this week's "Captain Davos: Civil War." Ivan and Red covered Bran II (ADwD) in a previous episode, and continue with Tyrion IV and Davos II. They discuss their civil war over Civil War, Book Tyrion and saying one of the worst things you can say to a woman, and Davos's series of info dumps. You can also head over to their Patreon for their latest episode of Great British Bake Off coverage. To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

Smithsonian scientist Harrison Dyar spent 20 years digging hidden tunnels under Washington D.C.

In 1924 a curious network of catacombs was discovered in Washington D.C. They were traced to Harrison Dyar, a Smithsonian entomologist who had been industriously digging tunnels in the city for almost two decades. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Dyar's strange hobby -- and the equally bizarre affairs in his personal life.

We'll also revisit balloons in World War II and puzzle over a thief's change of heart.

Show notes

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast covers The Great British Bake Off Series 7

Selasi Can Get it

This week, Boars, Gore, and Swords takes a break from the ASOIAF book club to watch the first two episodes of series seven of international baking sensation The Great British Bake Off.  Ivan and Red discuss the art of sitting on cakes, how amazing Mel and Sue's innuendos are, and who they think will go all the way. For more GBBO coverage, head over to the BGaS Patreon for more donor-exclusive episodes.

To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

The bear who fought in World War II

During World War II a Polish transport company picked up an unusual mascot: a Syrian brown bear that grew to 500 pounds and traveled with his human friends through the Middle East and Europe. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll meet Wojtek, the "happy warrior," and follow his adventures during and after the war.

We'll also catch up with a Russian recluse and puzzle over a murderous daughter.

Show notes

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